Monday, October 17, 2011

The Second Approach Trio - Pandora's Pitcher [Leo]

The Second Approach Trio :
Andrei Razin - piano, keayboards, percussion, voice (on track 4)
Tatiana Komova - voice, percussion
Igor Ivanushkin - acoustic bass, percussion

Leo Records 2011

Leo Feign continues his crusade to explore and present the depths of creative music scene in Russia and this disc is yet another reason to be thankfull and wishfull that he'd continue to do so. As a result the Leo Records keeps proving my ignorance, and keeps surprising me with a great music from artists whom I never heard before, which I love by the way. The Second Approach Trio's discography , printed on the inlay, sports 7 titles including a last year release on Leo or a session with Roswell Rudd, which obviously means that the trio is a long-term working band and it achieved already some exposure.

The incredible thing about Second Approach is their stylistic range, the musical ground they can cover within the 44 minutes of 4 tracks is remarkable. But it's the grace, the facility they ease into each new mode is what makes this not only unique but also inspiring.
"Weird Talks" emerges from the silence with e declamation. Rrussian is an incredibly melodic and poetic language, you don't need to understand the meaning, in fact it might be the only way to appreciate truly its musical quality while it is surrounded by a landscape of eerie minmal sounds and percussions. The piece transforms into a bass - piano duo, poignant, surreal, with the abstract runs, the sorrow sound of bowed bass, the whisper and subtle percussion accents coming back to the play and the piece ends suddenly, as in a dream.
"37'1 (99'F)" starts with a light jazz groove based on a strong bass pulse (spicy walking, great sound) and a quirky, full of melodical jumps melody, both played on piano and sung (vocalised) which makes space for a piano solo, filled with sudden twists and sense of urgency, supported by the steady and simple beat that creates the illusion of gaining speed. And it goes wild and crazy, when the melody reappears, with the distorted vocal effects of hushed cries, wails, sighs and gurgles.
"Rite of Winter" is faithfull to its name, a meditative musical landscape, delicate and spare textures, fragile structures that are reinforced through repetition. In this apparent monotony, the wide panoramic view of winter (and all the associated meanings of solitude) one begins to notice the details, focuses on just small fractures of the reality. The pieces is ornamented with minimal vocalese, an echoing phrase that is contradicted by the expansive and impressionistic (romantic if you will) piano solo. Meditative at the beginning, overwhelming near the end, with dark brooding powerfully struck chords, metallic tinges of percussion and long bowed notes accompanying the theatrical vocal expressionism.
"Bulesque Rag" is exactly what it sounds it is, a distorted rag melody played at a breakneck speed as if on testosteron, verging on pastiche really, virtuosic and highly enjoyable. Pretty clear at the start it goes haywire in the middle for a playfull voice-bass duo, getting straight mad when the piano rejoins and stopping suddenly for a slow reflective passage, not too long though since they need to get back on track to close the piece with the ridiculously uptempo coda. Quite a ride.

As is the entire album. In fact, there is a madness to their music and the mothod to their madness, as hard as it is to keep up with them as they constanlty change the pace and the setting. The Second Approach Trio surprises with the music that is unconventionally mixed, a true musical collage or a strap book even. Between the oniric, surreal, meditative and abstract expressionism or playfull irony there's a great balance. And there's much more to that attitude than just a post-modern exercise in mixing styles and registers - a true and refreshing enjoyment. If you don't mind that mixing of tragedy  and comedy (of pagan and civilised; of rite and show) this music should catch your ear. 

I featured a track from the cd on this playlist.
A duo version of the crazy "Burlesque Rag".

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